We believe that teaching students to be leaders is a critical part of their development. Having leadership roles helps students realize the power of their own voices, to learn that they can effect positive change, to learn to manage large groups and shows them the value of taking on roles of responsibility. Opportunities for student leadership abound at Westtown and begin in our youngest classrooms.
In Lower School, even at the youngest ages, children take responsibility for helping others. Kindergartners help Pre-Kindergartners read. Third graders partner with Kindergartners to take them to Meeting for Worship. Fourth Graders run the recycling program. Fifth graders lead Monday morning Gathering. We believe the skills of leadership come from every day practice and leadership is an expectation in Lower School.
Middle School students hone their leadership skills through our Middle School Clerks group. No popularity contest elections here! We welcome all kinds of leaders – those with big ideas, those who are good at building consensus, and those who know how to break a project down into manageable component parts in order to effect change. Students organize our service learning, propose ideas to improve student life, and write queries for us to consider in Meeting for Worship each month.
Having leadership roles helps students realize the power of their own voices, to learn that they can effect positive change
There are a multitude of leadership opportunities in the Upper School. We encourage students to lead in a variety of ways and there are both elected and non-elected leadership positions. Prefects, proctors, Work Program heads, class officers and farm managers are interviewed by current leaders and faculty members, collect recommendations, and in most cases are chosen by their peers. Our leaders play an integral part in new student orientation, dorm life, the Work Program, student council, and maintaining a working farm. Leaders are asked to commit to the highest standard of community behavior, to hold themselves and their peers accountable, and to be actively supporting Westtown values. They are given training and feedback throughout the year so that each student can grow and develop in their leadership trajectory. Our faculty and administrators look for genuine partnerships with peer leaders and look to these leaders to guide, inform, and inspire the student body.